While marketers have long touted the benefits of sponsor cross-promotions, many rightsholders still fall short in facilitating cross-marketing opportunities among their corporate partners.

And with budget-challenged companies continuing to scrutinize every marketing expenditure, the need for cross-promotions has never been greater.

“Properties should place more emphasis on cross-promotions, especially in this new sponsorship world we live in. All sponsors are being asked to do more with less, and properties must realize that cross-promotions are a great way to achieve multiple results on behalf of their sponsors,” said John Vaughn, manager of sponsorships and events with Advance Auto Parts, Inc.

Case in point: Advance Auto has boosted the number of sweepstake registrants around its sponsorship of the Big South Conference by working with other sponsors on a joint promotion. The sweeps generates roughly 50,000 registrants, up from several thousand when the retailer ran the promo on its own.

“When we started the sponsorship every sponsor was implementing its own promotion. We quickly realized there is power in numbers and that together we could put something together with much greater appeal,” said Vaughn.

Cross-promotions also can provide sponsors exposure in non-traditional marketing channels. American Honda Motor Co. last year gained vehicle display space in Macy, Inc.’s outlets as a result of its participation in an IZOD IndyCar Series promotion with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.’s IZOD brand.

The Civic Racing Style Sweepstakes presented by IZOD was promoted through an in-store display that featured a Honda Civic. The apparel company passed-through the promotion to Macy’s, a key retail partner.

“Most people don’t expect to see a vehicle in a clothing retailer. It gave Honda a clear message in an uncluttered environment,” said Greg Gruning, IndyCar’s executive vice president of corporate business development.

Sponsors also can use cross-promotions to access new inventory for promotions. Subaru of America, Inc. last year leveraged its presenting sponsorship of the Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series with Wolverine World Wide, Inc.’s Merrell shoe line, the series’ title sponsor.

Subaru activated the partnership by offering a $100 Merrell gift certificate to consumers that took a test drive.

“We were able to drive traffic to our dealerships while introducing consumers to the Merrell brand. It was a win for us, a win for Merrell and a win for consumers that took advantage of the offer,” said Todd Lawrence, Subaru’s promotions and sponsorship manager.

While sponsor cross-promotions can be valuable, many properties fall short in facilitating the relationships, he added.

“Cross-promotions should be low-hanging fruit for properties. Even if a cross-promotion doesn’t happen for a particular event, sponsors will always appreciate an introduction to brands that share similar customers.”

And if building relations with sponsors isn’t enough, sponsor cross-promotions also benefit properties by providing additional marketing exposure.

“Sponsor cross-promotions are important for two reasons: Companies can get a better return from their sponsorship, and they also help promote our sport,” said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing with the NHRA.

Other Sponsor Cross-Promotions
Sponsors Property Cross-promotion

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Panini America, Inc.

National Football League To provide an authentic premium to fans who visit the Bridgestone activation space at the NFL Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Bridgestone partnered with NFL licensee Panini America to create 30,000 unique packs of “Performance Moment” trading cards. The cards highlight memorable moments from past NFL seasons.

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
MasterCard Inc.

Major League Baseball

To support the Firestone All-Star Game in-stadium balloting program and capitalize on the key spring tire selling season, Firestone ran a May 2011 promotion with MasterCard Int’l. The promotion rewarded consumers who purchased four Firestone tires with a $50 prepaid MasterCard debit card.

Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
PepsiCo, Inc.

National Hockey League Enterprise and Pepsi this month activated the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, Ont. by sampling beverages at local Enterprise outlets. The two companies kicked off the partnership in 2011 with a similar promotion around the NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover in Raleigh, N.C. 

Chrysler Group LLC
Discount Tire Co.
Shell Oil Co.

Penske Racing Chrysler and Shell’s Pennzoil oil brand last year leveraged Penske Racing with the “Join the Pursuit” in-store promotion that dangled a Penske-inspired Dodge Challenger. Discount Tire provided the vehicle’s wheels and tires.